The first meeting between United Women’s Soccer sides New York Surf and Long Island Rough Riders was a back-and-forth affair with the Surf coming out on top 3-2.
With the win, New York keeps its playoff hopes alive. The team is currently ranked number two in the UWS East Conference Power Rankings poll, making it a prime candidate for the UWS postseason wildcard. Long Island has two matches remaining — home contests vs. the New York Magic on Friday, July 14, and vs. the Lancaster Inferno on Sunday, July 16. The Rough Riders would need wins in both matches to move ahead of the Surf in the standings.
With the Surf/Rough Riders match holding playoff implications, the New York-area rivals put forth a hotly contested 90 minutes in which Surf’s Erica Murphy wrapped up a solid season with a hat-trick.
Long Island opened the scoring 25 minutes in as Christina Bellero sent a cross into the box from the right flank where Erica Modina finished to make it 1-0, a lead which stood as the teams went to halftime.
The Surf would equalize two minutes into the second half. After receiving a throw-in, Rachel Corboz split two defenders in the midfield before laying off a ball for Catrina Atanda on her left. Atanda then pinged a quick one-two with Corboz before she centered for Murphy in front of the goal. The initial strike from Murphy was saved by Rough Riders netminder Melissa Guglielmo, but Murphy was there to collect the rebound and find the back of the net.
In the 67th minute, New York gained the lead for the first time. After Furtuna Velaj dispossessed a defender, Corboz raced onto the ball and took off towards the final third. Working through the Long Island defense, Corboz would send a through-ball to Murphy, who quickly turned and hit a well-placed shot that made it 2-1.
But Long Island was not finished and would level the match 10 minutes later as Kimberley Marra chipped a well-placed delivery to Morgan Santoro as she sped into the penalty area. Before Surf goalkeeper Colleen Hickey had the chance to react, Santoro one-timed a strike into the back of the net.
With the Surf needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive, New York would find what would eventually be the game-winner in the 87th minute. On the play, Corboz sent a ball to Kelly Conheeney on the right flank, where she curled a feed around a defender and onto the feet of a racing Murphy. After collecting it, Murphy hammered a hard strike into the upper right 90 to secure the victory.
Editor’s note: This story was corrected Monday, July 10, at 8:45 p.m. Following its win over Long Island, New York Surf remains in contention for a playoff spot.